Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Nov 2006 23:05 UTC, submitted by SEJeff
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Mark Shuttleworth is trying to entice OpenSUSE developers to join Ubuntu. "Novell's decision to go to great lengths to circumvent the patent framework clearly articulated in the GPL has sent shockwaves through the community. If you are an OpenSUSE developer who is concerned about the long term consequences of this pact, you may be interested in some of the events happening next week as part of the Ubuntu Open Week."
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A few comments....
by grat on Sat 25th Nov 2006 20:49 UTC
grat
Member since:
2006-02-02

Given the way this discussion has progressed, it's pretty obvious that most people posting here haven't done their homework, including Shuttleworth.

First off, Shuttleworth's wording, his offer, and his presentation, reminds me of a used-car salesman. At the moment, there's a lot of hysteria, but very little proof that Novell is attempting to circumvent the patent clause in the GPL. I wish they'd be more clear about it, but so far, I haven't heard the GPL specifically referenced, and Novell has software available under closed, open, and GPL licenses (My personal belief is that Novell should specifically *exclude* any GPL licensed software from the Novell/MS agreement).

Secondly, I can't speak about ATI, but the last time this came up (Kororaa), I went investigating into the binary/GPL/derived issue as it relates to the NVidia drivers under linux:

When you compile 'nvidia.ko' using the nvidia installer, and do a 'strings' on the resulting file, it's pretty apparent that the NVidia driver ('nvidia.ko') consists of an open-source (GPL?) wrapper, written specifically for the Linux kernel (Hence, making it a derived work), which then *statically* links to the NVidia binary blob.

Note that I said statically. Not dynamically. If it linked dynamically, then it would be loading the binary blob during runtime, but statically linked, the entire binary blob is contained within 'nvidia.ko'.

I can do this perfectly legally under the GPL, because what I do on my computer isn't your business, it's mine.

What I can't do, is distribute that particular file 'nvidia.ko' under the terms of the GPL, because it constitutes a derived work of the Linux kernel, which is a GPL-licensed work (And therein lies my personal belief why the kernel API will never be stable, but that's another rant).

Now, of course, the issue gets even murkier; If I turn on dynamic linking, and leave the binary blob in it's own little .so library file, then what? Is the library file considered a derivative work of the kernel? I think actually, the nvidia.ko module would then be a derivative work of the kernel, and of the NVidia binary blob, but the blob would *not* be derivative of the linux kernel (being written independently) and would therefore skirt the GPL distribution limitation. But I'm not a lawyer, and would not care to debate the meaning of "derivative work" in front of a judge.

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